There have been at least three men who have developed religions or spiritual perspectives based on purported experiences or suppositions since the time of Jesus. Their ideas have been more than just accepted, many people exalt their efforts, but it feels like God finally decided it’s high time a woman got a go at it, since the men keep ignoring too many things, like the nature of humanity and critical women’s issues.
Still, I imagine you think I’m going to say I’m kidding. I’m not.
There’s no other way to explain it except to say that I experienced a number of events I didn’t understand and slowly, finally, accepted the fact that they were spiritual experiences. Over time I had more experiences, that I was told, in so many ways, I should dismiss, but all of them finally led me to believe in a different kind of God—one whose ideas about morality seem quite different from what some people have wanted me to think and one who seems to really wants us to be able to use the gifts we’ve been given and will support us if we pursue what’s good. Not an “I already know what is good ‘good,’” but a “maybe I better read this book to find out ‘good.’”
Unlike what we are being told in one of the most current spiritual philosophies, which says that life is all about finally reaching a state of consciousness where we realize that the only thing that matters is “being,” an important aspect of my story is the recognition that my history, my relationships and my experiences have mattered. My unique experiences as a woman, a mother and a feminist have been important. My experiences—combined with both my compulsion to want to understand everything that’s happened in my life and my proclivity to be an information pack rat—enabled me to weave together bits and pieces that pushed me to think differently, in a spiritual way, about almost everything in my life.
I didn’t actually start writing with the intention of sharing ideas about God. I believed what I’d been taught. Sort of. I actually used to be afraid of people from other religions and certainly never dreamed I’d have anything to add to any of it.
This quote had always been confusing to me, since I’ve asked for a lot and haven’t gotten it, but I now have a much better understanding about how it works.
My story starts at the beginning of my life because it won’t make sense if you can’t see the connections to early events. It’s the story of a woman’s life. One of trying to fit in. One of trying to figure out what I was up against as I slowly realized equality didn’t exist. One of trying to hold on to what was important to me as one person after another tried to tell me how to live. One of loss, neglect, abuse, bullying, judgment and a couple of near-death experiences. You know, the usual (for far too many women).
But, when I was about fourteen years old, I stumbled upon a book about the history of ideas developed about God at one location over the millennia (The Source by James A. Michener) and my attitude toward books changed—in some ways it felt like I started on a book journey. What I found convinced me that books had information I needed.
I started out reading novels, often connecting deeply with insights they offered, but, as I encountered increasingly difficult situations in my life—in my marriage, with my family, with situations my kids were experiencing and with my beliefs—I sought out books that dug more deeply into concerns regarding family, feminism, women’s issues, science and religion. Over time, books came into my possession that had answers to questions I never dreamed I’d find. As I wrote and read, I developed concepts that I never imagined could come from someone like me. I slowly realized the reason I’d been through so much hell was so I could bring information and experiences together in ways that had never been done before.
I found information about the nature of humanity that challenges people’s claims about the true nature of men and women. I found information and present new perspectives about abortion that will enable women and everyone else (you know, men) to find peace with it. I discovered some important information about the Bible by reading it carefully and looking at it from a woman’s perspective. And I found connections across the span of my life that enabled me to recognize that the gifts I’d received truly had from God—from one I can hold in my hand to messages that go deep into the history of who I am and what I love.
My experiences have made me wonder if I am a storyteller, a concept I’ve only heard about from Native American lore. Someone else suggested the concept of mysticism, but that seems less likely given the fact that I feel compelled to write from a contemporary woman’s perspective, but there are some defining factors that suggest what I am experiencing may be both, that they are just different words for the same thing.
My experiences have been truly remarkable and they haven’t stopped yet. But what I really want you to see is that I’m so far from perfect, so far from what I was told was necessary to be “acceptable” in the eyes of God—this story shows the ways that God has been there for me anyway. I want people to see how important it has been to pursue knowledge and to keep doing what we believe is right, even when it’s feels like the hardest thing we’ve ever done and sometimes even seems like it’s reaching the point of insanity. And, most of all, if you’re wondering if God exists, this story gives you an idea about where to look. I don’t know for sure if it’s the same for everyone, all I can do is share what I’ve experienced.
I hope my story becomes part of your journey.*
*I am currently sending out agent queries for my book and most of you know the publishing world thinks that those of us who are rather introverted writer sorts should also be hot on social media, so I hope you will consider following me, linking to this page and telling your friends.
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